Birbhum district is an administrative unit in the Indian state of West Bengal. It is the northernmost district of Burdwan division—one of the three administrative divisions of West Bengal. The district headquarters is located at Suri.The state of Jharkhand lies at the western border of this district, whereas the border on other directions is covered by the districts of Bardhaman and Murshidabad of West Bengal.
Birbhum is primarily an agricultural district with around 75% of the population being dependent on agriculture.Principal industries of the district include cotton and silk harvesting and weaving, rice and oilseed milling, lac harvesting, and metalware and pottery manufacture.Bakreshwar Thermal Power Station is the only heavy industry in the district.
The name Birbhum comes probably from the term Land (Bhumi) of the Brave (Bir). Another theory says that the district bears the name of Bir kings, who ruled in the area. But, Bir in Santali language means forests, and therefore, Birbhum could also mean a land of forests.
Situated between 23° 32' 30" (right above the tropic of cancer) and 24° 35' 0" north latitude and 87° 5' 25" and 88° 1' 40" east longitudes, and about 4,545 square kilometres (1,755 sq mi) in area, this district is triangular in shape. River Ajay forms the southern base whereas the apex of the triangle points to the north. The river forms the boundary between the districts of Birbhum and Bardhaman. The state of Jharkhand is located at the northern and the western border of Birbhum and Murshidabad is located at the east.Geographically, this area lies at the north eastern end of the Chota Nagpur plateau, as it slopes down and merges with the alluvial plains of the Ganges. The western portion of the district is historically known as Vajjabhumi or Bajrabhumi.It is an undulating upland that is generally barren. The comparatively more fertile eastern portion, constituting the northeastern Rarh region, merges with the Gangetic plain. Vajjabhumi is also included in the Rarh region, and rest of Rarh is called Sumha to differentiate it from Vajjabhumi.
Places of interest
There are a number of places of tourist interest located in the Birbhum district. By far the most famous tourist spot here, and in fact a top draw in all of West Bengal, is Shantiniketan
. It is the place where Rabindranath Tagore
lived and composed some of his most famous literary pieces. It is now a University town, and the famous Visva-Bharati University
is also found located here. A number of seasonal festivals are celebrated here with great pomp and vigour. Apart from this, places of pilgrimage, called piths are also found in the district. The piths are said to be the places where one of the many dismembered parts of Sati
fell. These piths in the Birbhum district are located at Tarapith, Bakreshwar, Kaklitala, Labpur etc.